Baker to Vegas and back

Some Glendale police personnel may have been moving a little slower over the last couple of days as they nurse some sore muscles from their 120-mile relay race over the weekend.

The Glendale police was one of the 250 teams that ran the race through the Mojave desert beginning on Saturday and ending Sunday.

“We ran it faster this year than last year,” said Sgt. Tim Feely, the team’s captain.

The Glendale team came in 32nd place overall, fourth in its division and shaved 17 minutes off last year’s time.

“This was the fastest time in the 16 years I have been participating in the race,” Feely said.

The Challenge Cup/Baker-to-Vegas Relay Race began in 1985 by Los Angeles Police Officer Chuck Foote and Larry Moore. The starting line is iin the city of Baker and winds its way through the Mojave Desert to end in Las Vegas. The race was a way to promote health and camaraderie between law enforcement. It began with 19 teams in 1985 and grew to 250 participating in last weekend’s race. The racing agencies have reached out beyond the Los Angeles County area to a worldwide brother- and sister-hood of law enforcement which this year included two teams from Germany.

“It was great to see the team from Berlin running,” Feely said.

Categories have also expanded from police officers to now include judges, probation officers, district attorneys, U.S. attorneys and full time civilian police personnel.

The Glendale team was about 100 strong including the runners and supporters. Runners were scheduled for time of arrival, check-in time and running time.

“We set up several staging areas from the beginning in Baker to Shoshone and [rented] a hotel room in Pahrump, Nev. That is in the middle of the desert,” Feely said.

The team had alternates in case of injury, but fortunately none had to be used. Feely said that one of the runners was really sore but wouldn’t give up, and continued with the race.

Each runner takes a stretch from six to seven miles long that can be on flat ground through the desert or up hill with elevations close to 6,000 feet that, at times, include strong winds and sometimes even snow.

“There were some difficult legs,” Feely said. “I was cold this year — no snow — but there were high winds in some areas.”

At the end of the race the team gathered in Las Vegas for a traditional dinner.

“There were over 70 people at our team celebration, that is one of the largest groups [to attend in Vegas]. We really came together as a team.”

He added that it was a great way for Glendale police to work together with others in the department that they normally don’t have contact with, from new recruits to those who have been on the force for over 30 years. It is also a good way to get to know law enforcement from other agencies outside Glendale.

“It’s really neat driving home and everyone still has their [racing] number on their car,” he said, adding that it makes them feel that they are all part of something bigger.

The race is on a volunteer basis. Runners and supporters devote hours to training and preparing for the relay. Glendale raises money for the race through a series of fundraisers.

“The race was incredible. We finished a minute off our predicted time. We really pushed to achieve our goal,” Feely said.

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